Dale Murphy (YES):
I am completely biased because I consider Dale Murphy to be my all-time hero. His arm was one of the best in either league. Were it not for Mike Schmidt he could have been THE star of the National League at the time. As I said before, only he and Cal Ripken hit 20 or more homers every year from 1982-1990. He hit 40 homers once and 30 several times. He did make the 30-30 club back when it had few members (1983). He wound up with 398 homers. I'm not sure, but I think he is the all-time leader in home runs lost to rain-outs. That might be wrong, but I think I remember him passing Bobby Bonds for first place. He won back to back MVP's. He played in 740 consecutive games, the 12th longest streak ever. He was an All-Star in 1980, 82-87 and the top vote getter in 1985; he started five times. He hit .302 in 1983 when that was good enough for 6th place in the league. We cannot judge him by today's offense benchmarks. Imagine if someone hit .302 now and was 6th in the league! He led the National League in HR 1984-85, in RBI 82-83, runs in 1985, and OPS in 1983. He won five straight gold gloves from 1982-86 and four straight silver slugger awards from 1982-86. His number (#3) has been retired by the Atlanta Braves.But he shouldn't be measured solely for his on-field accomplishments. Let's not forget the class and honor that he brought to the game. He was a tireless supporter of the Huntington Disease Foundation, the 65 Roses Club, MDA, Make-A-Wish, The March of Dimes and many many others. He won the Lou Gehrig Award in 1985 and the Roberto Clemente Award in 1988. He was never ejected from a baseball game. He thanked reporters for interviewing him. In Philadelphia once, a stadium security guard didn't recognize him and wouldn't let him into the stadium. He just laughed it off. I can only imagine what Barry Bonds might have done in that situation. Murphy didn't have an "All suites" clause in his contract, nor did he have his team guarantee him charter jet flights home to his ranch during the season like Kevin Brown. I mean, he even had kind words to say about people like John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, and even Ozzie Virgil. I think we should point out that when Murphy finished 4th in homers in 1986 that he only had 29 homers. In 1987 he hit 44, but Andre Dawson had 49, so Murphy's awesome power that year was overshadowed in the NL, and by McGwire’s 49 and Jorge Bell’s 47. Homers were much harder to come by in that day and age. No one hit 50 from 1977 (George Foster) until 1990 (Cecil Fielder). If Murphy had connected twice more in his career, I think that he might've gotten into the Hall.Murphy was universally respected by all players (to be redundant). Imagine this scene: It's 1991, Braves vs. Phillies. Otis Nixon gets beaned by the Phillies pitcher next time up after hitting a homer. The bottom half of the inning, Tom Glavine has to respond and hit the first Phillies batter. Only it's Dale Murphy. He can't do it; no way. So he does the meanest thing he can bring himself to do; he throws Murph four high and inside fastballs to brush him back and put him on. Murphy got the base, and Glavine got the boot by the ump. Glavine said the ump later told him, "I only let you throw four, because that was Murphy and because I knew you wouldn't." It was not merely because they had been teammates, but because Murphy was so respected that he was off limits (by the umpires) for stunts like that. Glavine is a class act too, he's in the Hall for sure, and Murphy will make it somehow, someday, someway.If anyone deserves to get in, without the numbers we're used to seeing, he does, for being the nicest, most polite gentleman to ever grace the field.Murph's stats: http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/murphda05.shtml
Rickey Henderson (YES):
I predict that Henderson will get the highest voting percentage ever. He is the all-time steals and run leader, and when he retired he held the record for walks. He was always good, and always a game breaker. No need for a long defense of this one. I just want to hear from the people who think he doesn’t belong, why they think he doesn’t deserve it.
[From wikipedia] On May 18, 2007, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Oakland general manager Billy Beane was considering adding Henderson to the roster for one game in September, provided it did not "infringe on the integrity of the roster or of the season," so that Henderson could retire as an Oakland A's player. A month later, Henderson appeared to reject the overture, saying, "One day? I don't want one day. I want to play again, man. I don't want nobody's spot... I just want to see if I deserve to be out there. If I don't, just get rid of me, release me. And if I belong, you don't have to pay me but the minimum — and I'll donate every penny of that to some charity. So, how's that hurtin' anybody?... Don't say goodbye for me... When I want that one day they want to give me so bad, I'll let you know."
I miss Rickey.
Bert Blyleven (NO):
While many people clearly favor letting him in, and he was impressive on the Twins, I just don’t see it.
David Cone (NO):
Big game pitcher though he was, he never put it together enough for me to deserve Cooperstown. No awards, not even 200 wins; sure, he had lots of Championships, but those weren’t due to the “David Cone Show.”
Andre Dawson (YES):
I think Murphy, Dawson, and Rice were all part of an era that suffers from the effects of the homerun surge that followed. Dawson terrified pitchers, was one of the best fielders around, and could absolutely change the game with his bat. He has 400 homeruns and 300 stolen bases…there’s only two others who have ever done that: Bonds and Mays.
Mark Grace (NO):
Solid for a long time, but never came up big in the clutch (save the 2001 WS). 2,500 hits doesn’t quite make it. If he had gotten to 3,000, yes. But he didn’t, and 500 short is very short.
Tommy John (NO):
He pitched a long time….but his losses are really high. Sure he almost had 300 wins, and his WL totals are similar to Nolan Ryan’s, but Ryan had other stats that overwhelmed opponents, whereas John just pitched a really really long time.
Don Mattingly (YES):
If you compare Mattingly’s stats with HOFer Kirby Puckett, you’ll see there’s not much difference. And Mattingly had MVP clout.
G AB H 2 B 3B HR R RBI SB BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
1,785 7,003 2,153 442 20 222 1,007 1,099 14 588 444 .307 .358 .471 .82
Vs. Puckett 1783 7244 2304 414 57 207 1071 1085 134 450 965 .318 .360 .477 124
Mark McGwire (Undecided):
I want to see what happens with the other guys like Sosa, Palmeiro, and Bonds, before I vote for or against McGwire.
Jack Morris (YES):
He started three times in the 1991 series, including the 10-inning masterpiece in Game 7. He went on to win again with the Jays. He was solid at the end of his career and was a big game pitcher. He deserves the Hall.
Tim Raines (NO):
As good as he was, he falls into my Strawberry, Gooden, Davis category. His off-the-field failures soured me on him….and he wasn’t feared.
Jim Rice (YES):
Even though he was not very nice when I met him, if I vote for Murphy, I have to vote for Rice. An article supporting him can be found here: http://proxy.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?id=2268868
Lee Smith (NO):
Never a contender, crappy ERA for a “dominant” reliever, and most of his “saves” were one-inning deals. I never liked him and his lack of votes for awards show I wasn’t alone.
Alan Trammell (NO):
Middling consistency doesn’t a Hall of Famer make.
Dave Parker (NO, but I feel bad about it):
He’s got great stats, and had he used less coke, he might already be in….he was good, but I can’t elect him to the Hall of Fame on what-could’ve-beens.
People I don’t think even deserve to be on the ballot:
Harold Baines, good player but not HOF material
Jay Bell, yeah right
Ron Gant, I still think that motorcycle accident ruined him
Jesse Orosco, imposible, no lo merece
Dan Plesac, not even if he were a Brave
Greg Vaughn, I had such high hopes…I smell steroids on him
Mo Vaughn, good for awhile, but no.
Matt Williams, solid, consistent, never awe-inspiring.